The review of a book against Christian Science in The Republican...

The Republican

The review of a book against Christian Science in The Republican was remarkable at least in this: it failed to mention that the book was written by a clergyman. Until now the motive, bias, and interest of one who assails another's religion have been considered important. In this instance, as in more than a few others, active opposition began when some of the author's congregation left his church by reason of their preference for Christian Science. From this beginning, the book in question followed the ordinary course of its kind. It put forward the usual claim, different only in details, of special qualification to speak against Christian Science; it set up the usual array of facts (actual and other) which have been compiled by the combined efforts of opponents since Christian Science first attracted members of other churches; it adopted many or most of the misrepresentations and misinterpretations of Mrs. Eddy's history and teaching that are to be found in other books written for the same purpose, and it inserted about the usual amount of favorable matter to save the book from instant rejection by readers who would look for some evidence of fairness.

In one respect the book in question is commendable, or comparatively so. That is to say, it is written in a comparatively inoffensive manner; it does not hurl abusive nouns on every page and stretch offensive adjectives from one topic to the next. In other respects this book is like the others on the same shelf. But it has a special grievance or complaint, which is that Christian Science takes people out of "the church" and away from "historic Christianity." Since this accusation has been made by other writers and is made continually in parochial conversations, it merits a brief examination.

What is "the church" out of which people are said to be taken by Christian Science? This question is begged by opponents, though it is evidently pertinent, and though it is given special interest by the fact that a large number of churches severally and exclusively claim to be "the church." The Century dictionary imparts this relevant information: "What constitutes a Christian church according to the Scriptures is a question on which Christian denominations widely differ." One fact, however, should be plain to all observers, and it is of greater moment than mere decrease or increase of denominational numbers. This fact is that the people who unite with the Church of Christ, Scientist, do so for the purpose of participating in the activities of that institution which they have found to be doing the most of the works of Christ. Said Mrs. Eddy of what she regarded as the true church: "We can unite with this church only as we are new-born of Spirit, as we reach the Life which is Truth and the Truth which is Life by bringing forth the fruits of Love,—casting out error and healing the sick" (Science and Health, p. 35). The more anyone unites with this kind of church the better for him and for all mankind.

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